The Best Social Enterprise Ideas

Recently I met with the founder of a social enterprise. He reached out to me to discuss the upcoming re-launch of the organization’s website and the expansion of their work.

The call from the other social entrepreneur made me wonder about other great organizations. I know there are social entrepreneurs out there who are looking to kick-start a new venture.

As we quickly head toward the final quarter of 2014, we will soon once again collectively be looking at how to make a greater difference in the world. And so, in this article, I wanted to provide some of my thoughts on ideas that could help make our world a better place for everyone.

As a former executive in the shoe business, I was aligned professionally and personally with the fact that there are over 300 million children who do not own a pair of shoes, which makes it nearly impossible for them to attend school. So, when thinking about starting a social enterprise, it is important to believe and be committed to the mission and vision of the work to be done.

Here are some thoughts about what you might want to do if you are considering starting a social enterprise:

* Socially conscious online marketplace – working with artisans from around the world, your social enterprise can connect buyers with sellers with each other for a listing, commission or membership fee.

* Football or football – a child in poverty should still be able to play and a soccer ball or an American football where children need nothing else but the ball to play can be coupled with an education or community initiative. Connecting with local partners, a social entrepreneur can provide childhood memories, dreams and community building.

* Micro-lending – Kiva has done a great job in demonstrating how micro-lending can be done successfully, which includes a greater than 98% repayment rate. You can serve as a source for loans for people in developing nations, and increasingly in economically developed nations, for a nominal fee.

* Employment – individuals around the world are in need of jobs. When establishing a business, hiring people – including distributors and sellers – from under-served communities goes a long way toward helping someone, and his or her family, stand on their own feet.

* Food – despite the world’s abundance, there are people in developing nations and in countries like the United States who go to sleep hungry, including scores of millions of children. Developing a distribution channel for surplus food is a necessity in many communities.

* Eco-friendly products – we are making strides, but we have a long way to go in helping to restore balance to our environment. One of the ways to help the environment is to keep products from landfills such as shoes and plastics. Working to repurpose clothes, shoes and other products can provide goods for people in need, job opportunities and keep things from landfills.

* Books and Education – information is a new currency in today’s world and a recent report by UNESCO states that nearly 775 million adults still cannot read. As more economically developed countries increasing go digital, countless books are being destroyed or tossed. Many of these books can be prevented from reaching landfills and re-distributed to nations where children and adults need them.

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